Sunday, January 30, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Even though when we went to sleep last night it was snowing, we woke up this morning to freezing rain. Which would be fine, except we are in a city where you walk everywhere- and today we had to find an apartment. Well, I guess technically we didn’t have to find it today.
But let’s be honest. I’m nothing if I’m not impatient and impulsive.
So for me- it had to be TODAY. J
So, our umbrella-less trio went out and went to our first showing- a mansion. The house was gorgeous on the inside. The bedrooms were surreal- like something you would expect a Duchess to sleep in. It had four bedrooms- but each one could easily fit three people in it. The neighborhood didn’t impress us, but it had parking, so that was a plus.
We went to the next showing- 3 apartments right in the middle of the Italian Market district. We fell in love with the first one. It had a good living area, washer and drier, really spacious bedrooms and plenty of bathrooms. Also- the Italian Market neighborhood is just phenomenal. I fit right in! We saw 4 more apartments after this one- but the first one was perfect for us, hands down. One of the best parts? $300 a month per person- plus utilities (which will also be split 5 ways). Heck. Yes.
We found two other people, so we had a total of five, that agreed to get it with us. Then there was a frenzied rush to get to the realtor’s office to drop off the deposit. We did it, though and secured the apartment! We sign the lease on Friday and move in on Saturday. Before that though, we have to call to set up electric and gas. We also decided on getting internet, but no cable…because we are all in the poor house J
I’m unbelievably excited about the apartment and about my new housemates. I can’t wait for Saturday!!
In other news my legs are hollering at me because they aren’t this used to walking for around six or seven hours at a time…oh well. No huge walking trips tomorrow though- registering for classes, getting an advisor and starting to think about internships!
Also, we went to the Comcast Center (which HAS to be the biggest skyscraper here. We couldn’t even see the top because there were clouds in the way! Well…low clouds…or high fog…but it’s massive!) and ate at the food court. I had a delicious corned beef and pastrami sandwich. Is it just me, or does everything just taste better here??
I think so.
Reading and sleeping tonight!
Monday, January 17, 2011
We broke off into groups today and walked around the city. Not just a leisurely stroll for an hour or so- a 5 hour mission to cover as much ground as possible. The weather was chilly- but not terrible (I made sure to bundle up extra).
The first thing I noticed about Philadelphia is how the Old and New work so easily together. When good ol' William Penn first designed the city, he laid it out on a grid that has four main squares and everything situated around/inside them. This grid from the centuries ago is still being followed- with a few new variational diagonal streets. Everything flows into everything else.
There are massive New skyscrapers and the Old houses and wooden streets from our fore-father's time right next to each other. I know a lot of people who would scoff at this and think Why would they ruin it with ugly skyscrapers? But, it's not ruined at all. The buildings flow seamlessly and the skyscrapers don't look out of place. Philadelphia- the "Birthplace of the Nation" as it is sometimes called- has always been such an important part of our country. The skyscrapers- with their rows of windows and many fountains and statues- do add some beauty to downtown and also remind us that Philadelphia is still an important piece of the puzzle.
My favorite part of the walk was when we would turn a corner off of a rather bustling street, and all the sudden we were on a quiet, tiny road, barely wide enough for the smallest of cars. The houses were all pushed right up against each other- but they were all so different; different heights, widths, colors. It was beautiful and so peaceful- but still exciting because you could hear, almost as an after thought, things going on a block down. The houses looked so cozy- like if they were people they would be old friends who loved each other and wanted to hug and cuddle since the country was founded.
But enough about architecture.
It seems like Philly is alive everywhere you look. There are the most beautiful murals, mosaics, fountains and statues just bursting from every corner. The smells from Chinatown and restaurants on South Street are mouthwatering. The indoor market is huge and has everything anyone could ever want. With so many new things, I don't want to sleep- I just want to walk around and see everything in.
On the other hand- I'm exhausted.
I think the best example of Old and New today was also the most fun part of the walk. A friend from Earlham, Collin, convinced two girls, who were originally from China, to teach him some Chinese. It was- if anyone knows Collin, they will not be surprised- ridiculous and hilarious. He would string some sounds together that he thought sounded Chinese and try to, as he put it, "stumble into a word to look smart". All in all- Collin learned how to say "Ni-hao" and everyone involved got a kick out of that ridiculousness. But what I thought was great was how in the midst of "Old City" New friendships were being made while some were...struggling...with a New language. :)
Afterward, we all stuffed ourselves full from a plethora of different ethnic food options; Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian- just to name a few.
I got to know more people today, and have already fostered some friendships. I'm really excited for the housing search to begin tomorrow...we have three showings set up. Wish us luck!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Driving through New Jersey was the worst. We thought we were lost (we weren't). Also, you know how everyone says that Jersey has a "smell"? Yeah. They weren't lying.
But, driving up to it, there is no missing Philadelphia. It is big in every way. Tall buildings. Big rivers. Long bridges. Getting off the highway and driving smack dab in downtown was like a deleted scene from a Hitchcock movie. A lot of streets are no bigger than alleys...with barely any lane markings- or none at all. Sometimes I thought it was a three lane street. Sometimes one lane. And once I was convinced we were not on the street at all, but on the trolley tracks -and therefore were going to die. Aaron, as always, convinced me otherwise.
We got here late. I hate being late. But we still caught all the important parts of the orientation...with Andrea filling us in with what we missed. I started meeting new people...which is always pretty rad. I can see some fun times ahead with some of these lovely people.
Now, the worst part of the day: the optional walk to South street. A walk? Yay! Let's get acquainted with this wonderful city we will be living and working in until May. Sounded like a good idea at the time.
Yeah. It wasn't.
It was right around 20 degrees. I was wearing a thin trench coat (I know, a Michigander should know better). The walk there and back took two hours. We walked at a pace that paralleled how most Olympians swim laps. And, so of course, to my complete embarrassment and utter frustration, I had an asthma attack. It all got taken care of when we got back to the hotel, of course. But, owe it to me to create a medical drama on the first day.
Let me know when I can get a commercial lung transplant.
But, overall, a good day. This life in a new city is nerve-wracking and tiring. But, by the end of the week, I will have an apartment!
Tomorrow's agenda: More walking. More walking. Ethnic food eating.